June 18, 2024
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Ugandan activist hugs tree for 16 hours to set world record: “The tree chose me”

An environmental activist from Kampala, Uganda, has set a world record for the longest time to hug a tree.

Faith Patricia Ariokot, 29, wrapped her arms around a tree trunk for 16 hours 6 seconds to become the first official holder of the record. She attempted this challenge to encourage others to plant trees, and to highlight the need for humans to protect them. 

“They are the greatest soldiers in the fight against climate change,” Faith said.

Faith smiling while hugging tree

Faith says that selecting a tree to hug for this record attempt “felt like picking a bridal dress”.

“The tree chose me, and it was like love at first sight,” she explained. “When I saw the tree, I knew it was the one I would go for.”

This record differs slightly from ‘longest marathon’ records, such as the longest cooking marathon, where challengers accumulate five minutes of rest time after each continuous hour of activity.

Record attempts are considered to be ‘marathons’ only when they exceed 24 hours in length.

Thus, Faith was not permitted any breaks – her arms could not be released from the tree at any point, and she was required to stand for the entire duration of the record attempt.

Faith hugging tree at night

“My feet for over 16 hours straight were killing me,” she recalls. 

“The tree with its rough surface cut into my skin and caused a lot of pain to say the least, and yet I had to keep holding on.”

This was the third time within the span of a month that Faith attempted to set the record, as her camera failed to record much of her first attempt, and her second try was cut short due to a thunderstorm.

As early as one hour in, Faith considered quitting because she was discouraged by the previous two setbacks.

Faith smiling with leaves thrown on her

By the ninth hour, she admits she “broke down” and wanted to give up, but says she persevered after being consoled by the tree: “I believe trees really have feelings and can sense what we are going through. It gave me the comfort I needed to keep going.”

Faith now hopes that everyone who reads about her record, wherever they are in the world, will be inspired to go out and plant a tree.

I want to talk about love. Love for the planet. Love for the Earth. Love for each other. There is no other planet we can ever call home. And one easy way you can show love for Earth today is by planting a tree.

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